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St John’s Church announces plan for Watford town centre primary school
A proposed new Church of England free school "will be open to everybody", according to the vicar spearheading the campaign.
Father David Stevenson, of St John’s Church, in Sutton Road, is leading the bid to build a new primary school in central Watford.
Father David said he hopes an application for St John’s Church of England Primary School will be ready to be submitted to the Department for Education in May.
Plans are the school will be open next year, in September 2015.
Father David said he first thought of applying to open a free school during the summer as there was a growing concern among his parishioners as to where their children would be able to go to school.
He said: "The response from parents, and the overwhelming feeling within the community, is that parents are worried about the lack of school places.
"I have been at the parish for two and a half years now and over this time there has been a growing concern among our congregation."
Father David said he intends for there not to be any tests for pupils entering the school.
He added that admission will not be based on faith, but "will be open to everybody".
He explained: "Clearly the Church of England, being an established church, has a responsibility to educate everybody and care for everybody in the community irrespective of their beliefs and whether they have faith or not.
"Of course education has been a big thing in the church and we are going to continue that tradition.
"While it’s difficult to say exactly how entry will be determined, we know there won’t be any testing because a school is here to serve the whole community and that’s why we are very committed to being here in central Watford."
The intention is that the school will be a two-form entry. However, Father David said he is not sure exactly where in central Watford the school would be located.
He added that, while he hopes to find a suitable site in central Watford, until they get approval from the Department of Education to proceed, they are not permitted to enter into negotiations to secure a site.
The closest existing school to the proposed St John’s Primary is Central Primary in Derby Road.